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One of the most scenic sites in France, Mont Saint Michel is known for its rich historical and religious significance. Initially founded by an Irish hermit, it quickly became one of France’s most important island fortresses. The island remained safe during the Hundred Years’ War and was briefly turned into a prison by Louis XI. Upon the completion of the Abbey in 1523, it also gained religious importance, and today, it is one of the most-visited cultural sites in the country. Visitors are encouraged to explore this stunning island and soak in its natural beauty and captivating architecture.
Distance from Paris: The distance between Paris and Le Mont Saint Michel is 360 kilometers.
Best time to visit: Between May to September.
Mont Saint Michel opened up to the public on May 11, 2020. It is now open with new rules and health measures in place to ensure the safety of visitors. You can now explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site safely.
The iconic heritage site of Mont Saint Michel is an experience not to be missed when in France. This rocky islet is visited by three million people annually, who look forward to crossing the bay, exploring the abbey and its cloisters, and soaking in the scenic beauty. To experience the rich heritage, you can choose from four ticket options: Admission Tickets, Guided Tours, Day Trips from Paris, and Crossing of the Bay.
Your admission tickets give you skip-the-line access to the Mont St. Michel Abbey. Once you bypass the queue and enter, you can check your self-guided information booklet to discover the story of the Abbey and its importance. An alternative is to opt for tickets with an audioguide to give you information about the monument.
To explore the islet in its entirety, take a guided tour of Mont Saint Michel. An expert guide will take you around and give you insight into the history, along with facts and trivia. Your tickets also get you entry into the abbey of Mont Saint Michel. You will also have an audioguide to get more knowledge about this Gothic marvel.
If you're in Paris, you can visit the islet as part of a day trip, where your transfers to and from the city are included.
A knowledgeable guide will take you around Mont Saint Michel and give you information and show you hidden gems. You will also get to visit the famous abbey and its cloisters.
As part of this tour, you get to cross the bay between the mainland and Mont Saint Michel. The bay is home to an extraordinary number of species, and as part of this tour, you get to see the biodiversity up close.
It is advised that the crossing be done with a guide, as it can be dangerous to do by yourself.
The tidal island of Mont Saint Michel was once just dry land before rising sea levels eroded and reshaped the land. Originally called Mont Tombe, it was renamed Mont Saint Michel in the eighth century when Bishop Aubert erected an oratory for Archangel Michael.
The entire island was fortified so well in 1256 that it was able to fend off multiple sieges from the Kingdom of England during the Hundred Years’ War.
Located between Brittany and Normandy, the islet is a granite outcrop that rises above the bay. While it is surrounded by sandbanks, it also becomes an island when the high tide comes in, with a tidal range of up to 14 metres. While the abbey is the most famous attraction, the island also consists of many restaurants, museums, and chapels.Mont Saint Michel History
Made primarily in Gothic architecture style, the Mont Saint Michel abbey originated in 708 AD, when Bishop Aubert erected the first oratory on Mont Tombe in honor of the Archangel Michael. 200 years later, Benedectine monks settled there and it soon became a major place of pilgrimage for Christians in the West. At one point, it had so many manuscripts stored within the venue that it was called the “City of Books”.
The abbey features different architectural styles, such as the stunning Merveille building, which was made in Norman Gothic style in the 13th century. As the years passed by, the abbey kept getting increasingly dilapidated. In 1874, when the Abbey was classified as a historical monument, restoration work began. Today, visitors come from all over the world to marvel at its resplendent beauty that remains the same to this day.Mont Saint Michel Abbey
While Mont Saint Michel is famous for its abbey and rich history, its surrounding bay is known for its impressive tidal range, which can go up to 14 metres during spring tides. It is possible to cross this bay on foot and explore this natural environment and its exceptional biodiversity.
You can cross the bay when the tide is low — you will get to walk across sand and water, and even experience quicksand! However, please note that it is strongly advised that you do not cross the bay by yourself.
This is because when walking on the bay, you are completely surrounded by the sea, and the tide can come in very fast, which can be dangerous. Thus, to experience this, you must do it in the company of an experienced guide.Mont Saint Michel Bay
When in Mont Saint Michel, here are some things you must do to enrich your experience:
Please note that Mont-Saint-Michel remains closed on 1 Jan, 1 May, and 25 Dec.Visiting Mont Saint Michel
The best time to visit Mont Saint Michel is between May to September. This is when the weather is pleasant, and it is also the time when the spring tides are the strongest. When these tides occur, the sea level rises between 12-14 meters, briefly making Mont Saint Michel a proper island, as it is completely surrounded by the sea.
The best hour to visit is in the morning, when there are fewer people around and you can explore at your own leisure.Facts about Mont Saint Michel
Spend a night under the stars in Mont Saint Michel. With a number of camping sites in the vicinity, you can take your pick and find yourself a cosy spot. Some camping sites include:
There are many great places to grab a bite at in and around Mont Saint Michel, such as:
The best way to visit Mont Saint Michel is on a day trip from Paris. There are many ways to get to the islet from the city, each of which offers stunning views.
You can use a train or bus to get to Mont St. Michel, or you can drive down. Note that parking is on the mainland, and the only way to get from the mainland to the island is to take the shuttle or cross the bay.
If you're on a budget, you can take a bus from Paris to Mont Saint Michel, but if you're looking for the fastest way to get to the islet, take the train.Day Trip from Paris to Mont Saint Michel
Tickets for Mont Saint Michel start at €11. Please note that entry is free for EU citizens or permanent residents of France up to age 25. Those under 18 can visit for free, while those aged 18-25 get a discounted price of €8. Please ensure you carry a valid ID.
While slightly expensive, a guided tour of Mont Saint Michel is a great option for visitors. It ensures your transportation is taken care of for a hassle-free experience. Additionally, you will be accompanied by an expert guide who will give you insight into the history and answer all your question, thus enriching your experience.
This depends on the sort of tour you pick. You can check in advance whether or not your tickets also give you access to audioguides.
This, too, depends on the tour you pick. While some tours offer free cancellation, others have a strict policy where tickets cannot be cancelled, changed, or refunded. Please ensure you check the cancellation policy of your ticket prior to booking.
Yes. While tickets can be purchased on site, it's best to purchase tickets in advance to ensure you can visit on the sate of your choice.
The best time to visit is between May to September, when you can experience the spring tides in all its glory.
When in Mont Saint Michel, you must experience the spring tides, walk on the cobbled streets around the island, and visit the marvellous abbey.
Your ticket is valid on the date and time chosen.
Yes, you can either stay overnight in a hotel in the island or enjoy a camping experience close by.
A guided tour is the best way to explore Mont Saint Michel as you will get to visit the best attractions and learn the secrets of this historic island.
Yes, apart from its historic and cultural significance, Mont Saint Michel is known for its gorgeous vistas and it's unique tidal show. When visiting France, Mont Saint Michel is definitely a must-see!
Yes, your ticket includes entry into the Mont Saint Michel Abbey.
Yes, but please be advised that it must be done under the supervision of a guide.